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Young People, Relativism, and Natural Law

Young People, Relativism, and Natural Law c . f re d a l f ord The origins of my research go back a few years, when I was invited to be a member of a committee charged with developing a new ethics curriculum to be taught in the county schools. On the committee were ministers, priests, rabbis, several "concerned parents," and I. We met in the conference room of the local school board, which was moderately impressive, sitting in the same chairs the school board members sat in. Other than the ghostly presence of the school board, we were on our own. We began with elementary school students. What should they be taught? General principles were easy enough to agree on, such as "treat other students with respect." What got difficult was when we got down to practice, such as "students shouldn't hit each other." "Some cultures value the physical expression of difference," said one committee member. "Who are we to say otherwise?" added another. And so it went with this odd conversation. Odd not just because of the extreme cultural relativism, but because not a single member of the ethics committee thought children should hit each other. Quite the contrary; all were against http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

Young People, Relativism, and Natural Law

The Good Society , Volume 20 (2) – Feb 16, 2011

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1538-9731
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Abstract

c . f re d a l f ord The origins of my research go back a few years, when I was invited to be a member of a committee charged with developing a new ethics curriculum to be taught in the county schools. On the committee were ministers, priests, rabbis, several "concerned parents," and I. We met in the conference room of the local school board, which was moderately impressive, sitting in the same chairs the school board members sat in. Other than the ghostly presence of the school board, we were on our own. We began with elementary school students. What should they be taught? General principles were easy enough to agree on, such as "treat other students with respect." What got difficult was when we got down to practice, such as "students shouldn't hit each other." "Some cultures value the physical expression of difference," said one committee member. "Who are we to say otherwise?" added another. And so it went with this odd conversation. Odd not just because of the extreme cultural relativism, but because not a single member of the ethics committee thought children should hit each other. Quite the contrary; all were against

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: Feb 16, 2011

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